Establish a Donor Advised Fund

Stay involved in the good works that your gifts make possible. 

If you’re looking for a highly personal way of giving without all the guidelines, the responsibilities, and the costs that come with establishing and maintaining a private foundation, then a Donor Advised Fund at the Pasadena Community Foundation is the right charitable vehicle for you.

Choosing PCF over a private foundation has many benefits:

  • Donor Advised Funds direct money to any qualified nonprofit in the United States.
  • They can be expendable, invested or endowed, depending on your needs and your giving goals.
  • Donor Advised Funds are an ideal way for donors with a range of community interests to fulfill their philanthropic goals.

You have three options when establishing a Donor Advised Fund with PCF.

Charitable Checking

Donor advised Expendable Fund — This service acts like a personal checking account. You deposit assets (most commonly, appreciated stock or mutual funds) and then direct PCF to send contributions (grants) to any IRS-approved U.S. charities you choose. This method is flexible and simplifies record keeping. You can deposit assets in your account in the tax year when it’s most advantageous to you, take the charitable deduction in that year, and distribute funds to your favorite charities then or at a later date. Many people replenish their account at the end of the year and then have a single record for tax return purposes.

Charitable Investment Fund

Donor advised investment fund — This method works best if you have a long-term giving horizon and want to gift assets over many years. Sometimes these assets are funded by a large lump sum (sale of company, gift of real estate, year end bonus) where there is an advantage to taking the tax deduction in that year. The balance of your charitable fund is invested in the PCF investment portfolio for long-term growth. As the donor, you can direct distributions from the fund in any amount after the first year.

Alternative to Family Foundation

Donor advised endowment fund — This service works well if you have a family foundation and want to simplify administration but stay involved in grant making. The corpus of the foundation is invested in the PCF investment portfolio for long-term growth. We calculate the annual payout for grants, and your family decides how that annual amount will be awarded to nonprofits. We handle the accounting, tax returns, and IRS compliance issues. You enjoy making the grants.

Pasadena Community Foundation has prepared a Donor Advised Fund Handbook which answers many questions and concerns.

Donors who want to make grants from their Donor Advised Funds must fill out a Grant Recommendation Form.

These documents are available by clicking here.


“We were able to simplify administration while protecting the legacy and purpose of our fund. My brother, Lawrence, and I remain involved along with so many of the trustees who have participated in the grant making decisions. Although Lawrence and I no longer live in Pasadena, the partnership with PCF means the Giesen Trust will continue to play an important role in our hometown.”

— Curtis Giesen, Board President, Giesen Trust